On February 14, people celebrate love. This day is called Valentine’s Day, but traditions for this date vary according each continent and country.
Valentine’s Day is a very special day for many and it began several centuries ago, more specifically in the third century in Rome. The origin dates back to the death of Valentin, a priest sentenced for secretly celebrating marriages between young lovers.
The priest Valentine opposed the order of Emperor Claudius II, who decided to prohibit the celebration of marriages for young couples. He considered that single men without family were better soldiers, since they didn’t have any sentimental strings attached.
Valentine, opposing the emperor’s ruling, began to secretly celebrate marriages for the youth and since, he became popularly known as the patron saint of lovers.
When Claudio II found out, he sentenced Saint Valentine to death on February 14 in the year 270, alleging disobedience and rebellion. For this reason, Valentine’s Day is commemorated every year on this date.
Valentine’s Day on Latin America
In some Latin American countries such as Chile, Cuba, Ecuador, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic or Uruguay, this day is also celebrated on February 14, a day in which the most recurring gifts are flowers, letters or chocolates!
For example, in Puerto Rico Valentine’s Day celebrates love and friendship and the tradition is to exchange gifts between friends. The gifts can include postcards, chocolates, roses, stuffed animals or perfumes, among others.
It is also a tradition to wear a red dress if you are celebrating with your couple or to create mailboxes to leave love letters, a custom that is also practiced in Cuba.
In Peru, friendship is also celebrated and it’s common to give chocolates especially made for the occasion.
In this country, among the most precious gifts for this date are orchids, flowers that grow on the Peruvian flora and are the main characters in many poems by the best Peruvian writers.
In Mexico, Valentine’s Day is celebrated in a big and massive way. It is the greatest sales moment of the year for many sweets and chocolates’ businesses, but also for stuffed animals, balloons, wines and lingerie, among others.
It is also usually a good day in Mexico for restaurants and hotels that have special menus and events for anyone that wants to celebrate with their loved ones.
For Argentines, February 14 is known as ‘Love’s Day’, but there isn’t any gift exchanging involved, except for symbolic little presents, such as flowers or chocolates.
In fact, they have a specific day to celebrate friendship, on July 20th, in addition to having their week of sweetness, which has gained popularity these years and the dynamic is to exchange gifts, sweets and kisses!
Is Valentine’s Day celebrated on different dates?
Uruguay moved Valentine’s Day’s date to October. Meanwhile in Bolivia, Valentine’s Day is celebrated on the first day of spring (September 21st).
In Colombia, the date of Valentine’s Day changes to the third Saturday of September. A particularity of this celebration is the “secret friend” game, very common among Colombians.
The secret friend consists of putting all the written names of every participant in a container, with everyone randomly choosing one piece of paper. Everyone who gets a name will be the secret friend of that person and, without them realizing who the gift is from, they will receive small presents throughout the month. In the end, if they can guess among all the participants who gave who the gifts, there will be a final and important gift to reveal.
In Brazil, this festivity is called ‘Dia dos Namorados’ (Lover’s Day) and is celebrated on June 12th, in memory of San Antonio de Padua. A celebration in which gifts are also exchanged.
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